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rest of the apostles published? They were, in few words, salvation through Jesus Christ to Jew and Gentile, to bond and free. Long before the Messiah came upon earth, the patriarch Job had said, "How can man be just with God?"* and the Psalmist David had prayed, "Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified;" and to them, and the rest of the faithful before Christ came, it had in mercy been revealed, that by the Christ, the Messiah, who should come in the fulness of time, "they that believe should be justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses," or by their own righteousness, or by any device of their own. All holy men of old were justified or accounted righteous in the sight of God, by their faith in His promises, and they "endured," as the apostle tells us, seeing Him who is
invisible."§ But they
+ Psalm cxliii. 2.
*Job ix. 12.
§ Heb. xi. 27.
knew not the Gospel of Christ in that fulness, and clearness, and brightness of revealed truth which Christians possess, for He Himself assured his disciples, that they might indeed reckon their eyes blessed as seeing those things which they saw;* inasmuch as " many prophets, and kings, and righteous men, had earnestly desired to see those things which they saw, and had not seen them; and to hear those things which they heard, and had not heard them.”
You see, then, that apart from the great spiritual advantages which those Christians possess who study these glad tidings, and make full use of them; the very fact that they are permitted, nay, invited, to hear and understand them at all, places them in a more favoured situation than Solomon in all his glory-" He that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." He who knew least of the gospel of Christ, is greater than the wisest of men that lived before that
Vide Matt. xiii. 16, 17; Luke x. 24.
gospel was published.
a better thing for us, that they without us should be made perfect."* For, in truth, it was not until the birth of Jesus Christ that these glad tidings were publicly proclaimed. Before that time they had been hidden under types and shadows, and only revealed in figurative and mysterious language, "here a little and there a little," and the prophets themselves who inquired after the truth were obliged, as St. Peter tells us, to "search diligently what, and what manner of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, did signify, when it testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory which should follow;" but as soon as Christ was born into the world, angels appeared to the shepherds, showing them
glad tidings of great joy, which should be to all people"-in that to them was then "born a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." This, as St. Mark says, was "the beginning of the gospel of Jesus
Heb. xi, 40.
+1 Peter i. 11.
Christ, the Son of God."* St. John the Baptist was sent first to prepare men's hearts to receive the word, and then, when he had fulfilled his appointed duty, and all men were alive with expectation. of the approaching Messiah, "after that John was cast into prison" by Herod, "Jesus came into Galilee," and what was His mission? "Preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." Upon one occasion, early in his ministry, we read that He came to Nazareth, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, as his custom was, and stood up for to read; and upon receiving the book of the prophet Isaiah, He turned to the 61st chapter, where it is written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deli
+ Mark i. 14, 15.
* Mark i. 1.
verance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord;" and He immediately proceeded to apply this prophecy to Himself. "This day," He said, "is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." This day I am come among you, whom the Lord hath anointed as His Christ to preach the gospel to the poor. Are any broken-hearted through sorrow for sin, and fear of death eternal? I am come with the glad tidings that I am the physician by whom your souls may be healed. Are any led away captive by divers lusts and passions-tied and bound by the chain of long-indulged and deeply-rooted sins, and unable to burst through the fetters of evil habits? I am sent to preach the glad tidings of deliverance to you. God giveth you the victory through me: I have overcome sin, and death, and him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil, and I will give you strength to overcome the bondage of corruption, and